Park City nears deal to keep arts fest on Main Street |

Park City nears deal to keep arts fest on Main Street

The Park City Kimball Arts Festival, shown in 2016, draws large crowds to Main Street to peruse artist booths, entertainment and dining. City Hall and the Kimball Art Center, which organizes the event, have negotiated an agreement to hold the festival on Main Street through 2021.
File photo by Tanzi Propst/Park Record

City Hall and the organizers of the Park City Kimball Arts Festival, one of the biggest events on the city’s calendar, have negotiated an agreement would keep the annual marketplace on Main Street for another five years.

Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council are expected to discuss the agreement and cast a vote at a meeting on Thursday. A hearing is also scheduled. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in the City Council chambers at the Marsac Building.

The municipal government and the Kimball Art Center in 2007 signed a contract for the festival with a renewal that lasted through the 2016 edition. It has been anticipated for months that City Hall and the Kimball Art Center would negotiate another agreement to hold the event on Main Street even after the not-for-profit organization itself moved from its historic location along the street to temporary quarters on Kearns Boulevard.

The agreement that the elected officials will consider on Thursday runs through the 2021 festival without an automatic renewal. The festival will be held during the first weekend of August.

“Both parties worked hard together,” said Jason Glidden, the economic development program manager at City Hall and the municipal government’s lead negotiator.

Glidden said the Kimball Art Center side did not indicate alternate locations were under consideration, something that has raised the stakes during negotiations about the festival in the past.

According to Glidden, the agreement would remove a $15,000 annual City Hall cash payment to the Kimball Art Center that was meant to offset the revenues lost through free admission to area residents and offset some of the cost of hiring security guards. Under the agreement that will be discussed on Thursday, the Kimball Art Center will pay City Hall $10,000 annually for municipal services like police protection and enhanced bus service. The municipal government will be responsible for funding the rest of the services, estimated at between approximately $150,000 and $160,000 each year. If the figure reaches $180,000 in any year, City Hall and the Kimball Art Center would reopen discussions about the financial responsibilities of the two parties for that year, Glidden said.

The agreement, meanwhile, gives the Kimball Art Center the right of first refusal on municipal property during the festival and the organization will have a right to provide recommendations regarding impacts if another event wants to share the dates with the festival.

The festival over the years has grown into a formidable economic driver and is widely seen as the anchor event in the summer even as other arts and sports gatherings have been launched over the years.

The festival in 2016 generated just less than $19.8 million in economic impact, according to a study highlighted in a report submitted to the mayor and City Council in anticipation of the meeting on Thursday. The $19.8 million was down from 2015 but up sharply from 2006, according to the report.

Dave March, the marketing and events director at the Kimball Art Center, was pleased with the negotiations, saying they were positive.

“It’s one of the most iconic locations in all of Park City,” he said about Main Street, adding, “Everyone finds the value of being on historic Main Street.”